Dear to My Heart

 In News & Events

By Sharon Zenger, Guiding Eyes graduateGrad Sharon Zenger with German Shepherd Jude.  We're not sure who has the bigger smile!

I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and my vision deteriorated throughout my life. As a child, I knew that someday I would lose my sight, so I wanted to be involved with – and give back to — the guide dog community.

At age 9 I became a volunteer puppy raiser for a guide dog school near my home in Oregon. I loved the puppies and the whole experience, and I continued to raise puppies for the next nine years, until I attended college. My parents were very supportive and took me to all the required meetings and many other places to socialize the puppies. I raised four German Shepherds and one golden retriever. I am so proud that four out of the five made it to graduation and became working guides.

I have a very rewarding job as an elementary school teacher at Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. My Guiding Eyes dog Jude is a perfect match with my lifestyle. He loves to work and to walk. He also loves children, which is extremely important because he comes to school with me. The fact that he’s so well-behaved is a big plus because we attend a lot of committee and board meetings.

The Guiding Eyes training center is very homelike and the training is awesome! I got to meet many of the wonderful instructors and office staff. The kennels are very impressive, with lots of special equipment to exercise the dogs and keep them physically and mentally fit.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is especially dear to my heart because they support their dogs before, during and after their working life.  Guiding Eyes will always have my respect and gratitude.